/ July 14, 2008

ICC Indicts President of Sudan

On Monday, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, announced that he will pursue a case against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir at the ICC, accusing him of crimes againast humanity and genocide. As Prosecutor, Moreno-Ocampo was asked by the UN Security Council to investigate charges of human rights violations by Sudan. Moreno-Ocampo cites evidence of mass deportation, rape and outright murder, facilitated and master-minded by the President, in his request for an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir:

“Al Bashir is the President. He is the Commander in Chief. Those are not just formal words. He used the whole state apparatus, he used the army, he enrolled the Militia/Janjaweed. They all report to him, they all obey him. His control is absolute.”

The court’s panel is likely to spend months deliberating on whether to grant Moreno-Ocampo’s warrant request. The Sudanese government strongly rejects the jurisdiction of the ICC, claiming that the indictment proves the political motivation of the court. The defiance of Sudan’s leaders has led to speculation that the court’s proceedings could unleash increased violence and unrest in the region. The President’s political party has declared on national television that an arrest warrant would be responsible for “more violence and blood” in Darfur. While no evidence of this tactic is yet to be seen, and AU peacekeepers remain on the ground, observers and human rights workers rightly worry that there is truth to the government’s promise of further cruelty. The UN has also announced it will withdraw all non-essential workers from the country in anticipation of a flare up. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, however, vows to vigorously prosecute Al-Bashir in the face of the potential consequences, and human rights groups maintain that any resulting violence must be blamed on the perpetrators, not on the ICC.

ICC Press Release

Source: Legal Week

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